1. This statement reports on new developments since the staff report was issued:
Since the discontinuation of all buyback operations in the foreign exchange market in early September (a continuous structural benchmark under the staff-monitored program), the official exchange rate has been determined exclusively by market transactions and has remained relatively stable in October and the first half of November. From end-September to November 10, the central bank made cumulative purchases of foreign exchange in the market of about US$18 million, in keeping with its objective of gradual reserves accumulation.
The draft revisions to the 2015 budget and the draft 2016 budget were submitted to parliament on October 30. The two draft budget documents included all of the agreed revenue measures in paragraph 18 of the MEFP, and the related prior action (MEFP Table 2) has been completed. In addition, the draft 2016 budget law provides for the setting up of an escrow account at the Central Bank for the reimbursement of VAT refunds starting in January 1, 2016 (structural benchmark). The main parameters of the draft budget are in line with those assumed for the staff-monitored program.